Three Thing Friday

1. Halloween – It’s that time of year again. It is time for little kids to learn that you can dress up once a year and be rewarded, regardless of behavior. At least around Christmas the children have to “behave”. I am pretty sure I never did and I still got gifts, but at least there was the threat of punishment.

No, Halloween is the time of year when we teach our children how to beg. Maybe this is a good thing since a percentage of these little annoying punks will probably end up on the street.

Having complained about all of that, it’s not even my biggest complaint. You would think that after a few years of me doing this, feeding these brats candy and sugar (at least I don’t have to deal with the kids after their sugar intake), that I would learn to buy candy I hate. No, I go out and purchase candy I like, even when it makes me sick. So sadly, the first round of candy was consumed in this house, not buy the children it was intended for. The second round is being reserved for the doorbell ringers. If it even lasts that long.

2. Dressing Rooms – I remember as a kid, when my mother would drag me out to go clothes shopping, I would hate to try clothes on. I absolutely hated it. Granted, as I got older I understood why I had to try on clothes. Who would want to return to the store the next day just to return things you recently bought? I don’t even like going to the store at all, why would I want to return the next day? So, yesterday I ran out to get a new pair of jeans, grabbed the size I thought would fit, and ran home. That’s right, again I didn’t try them on. I still hate dressing rooms. But at least now I am not growing any more. I am pretty sure that I peaked at the height of 5 foot nothing, and if anything I will start to shrink in the next few years. And guess what, they fit fine.

Yes, I realize that I should be concerned about my waist size. I realize that the new clothes may not fit exactly. But hey, I haven’t gained much weight in the last few years, so I am probably able to buy clothes that it pretty close to fitting perfectly.

Now, I just need to keep in the slightly overweight shape that I am in. And because I am a cheap bastard, I hope I don’t lose to0 much weight where I have to buy a new wardrobe. And the same goes for gaining weight.

3. Taking a break – You may have noticed that I have really cut back on my blogging. While I will probably at least continue to blog my “Three Thing Friday” blogs, I will probably be cutting back even more on how often I post. And this may continue for the next few weeks. I need to work on some things in my personal life, and I just feel like blogging isn’t helping at all. Sure, I can continue to cover the weird ass dreams I am still having. I can continue to complain about CECOM, the Pyrite Standard. I can continue to talk about nothing, which I am really good at. But I feel that a break is needed.

I know fellow bloggers who have been doing this for years, and can still make a new post nearly every day. I just don’t have the enthusiasm that I used to. And that missing enthusiasm isn’t just missing in this part of my life. My gaming, my working out (which I haven’t done all year), my reading, and even my diving… I just don’t have the drive I used to.

Three Thing Friday (The Return Edition)

1. Sharks – So, after three days of diving I still say that these really big fish need to be respected and protected. These are amazing animals, and having done two trips to Guadeloupe, the second trip was just as amazing as the first.

I always say that people should make this trip on their own (or take me with you, I’d go again) just to gain more appreciation for these magnificent animals. People cannot treat Jaws as fact; there are many flaws in that film. People also cannot rely on Shark Week, as that has become a week about shark attacks and fictional sharks. After talking to Jimi (the “tour guide”) I now appreciate what both can do for sharks. They can get someone interested in these animals, but they can also just generate fear of them.

Yes, I have to admit that sharks kill people every year. Cars, dogs, mosquitos, and McDonald’s also kill people every year and each of those kill more people than sharks each year. But they don’t generate the same amount of fear. People fear the unknown. People fear the deep. People fear the sharks.

And they shouldn’t.

2. Just Stupid – So, as I said this was an amazing trip. However, I have to admit I am an idiot. The only electrical socket in my room was on the ceiling. It was not a convenient location, but one I could work with. Or so I thought. On the way to the island, I decided to make sure that my camera was fully charged. The power cord was not long enough to reach anything, but it seemed sturdy enough just hanging there. After a few minutes of watching it sway with the rocking of the boat, I thought I could leave it there.

Boy was I wrong.

At some point after I fell asleep, I was awoken by a large crash. The camera fell and the screen no longer worked. It still takes pictures, but I can no longer change the settings. I cannot pick if I want surface shots, under the surface shots, or deep underwater shots. I can choose to take videos, but I am never sure if I am on video or if I am taking pictures. Hell, I have to guess at what I am aiming at. Good thing that some of the sharks are so big that you cannot possibly miss them.

I took the camera apart and rebuilt it, and all I did was make it slightly worse. So yes, I do have plenty of pictures of sharks, I just do not think they are as good as the pictures I took two years ago. I have no one to blame but myself. Damn it.

3. No more women – Just under two years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey shore. Amongst the homes destroyed was the house I grew up in; the same house that my parents still lived in with their plethora of cats. Since no one would let them move in with all five, even for a short stay, I ended up with two of them. My mom’s cat Angel (anything but) and my sister’s cat Pips (total bitch). They have stayed here for almost two years.

Recently, my parent’s new house was completed and they were allowed to move back into Seaside Park. And so, the cats are currently being transported back home. The house is suddenly quite and peaceful. Loki is already less stressed (and I think planning a party).

And, surprisingly, I think I am going to miss them.

Three Thing Friday

1. Social Beings – I have heard it time and time again that human beings are social animals. I am so tired of hearing this. I would be perfectly happy living in Montana or Alaska, away from people, all to myself. Granted, I would want to be close enough to civilization so I can have indoor plumbing (like the Romans). I would want to live within the vicinity of a shopping center so that I wouldn’t have to grow my own food. And yes, I do enjoy hanging out with my friends, but I am just as happy locked away in my home.

Hell, I am beginning to understand why one of my friends just shaves his head. I had to get a hair cut today, and having to interact with the cutter of my hair made me realize I would have rather not have to get my hair cut by others. I should just shave my head so there would be one less person for me to interact with.

I am not a social being.

2. Vacation Prep – I spent this morning getting some minor preparation done for my up coming trip. Like I said, I got my hair cut, I got my back and neck cracked by my chiropractor, and I bought some things I feel that I will need. Travel shampoo, travel deodorant, travel toothpaste, and Dramamine we some of the items I bought for my upcoming dive with our friends, the sharks. Am I all set? Of course not, but I am slightly closer. Plus, I have three weeks till I leave.

Usually I leave all of my preparation to the last possible minute. If I were leaving on a Friday, I’d buy all the crap I need on that Wednesday and pack on either the Thursday or possibly even that morning. But with this trip, I am trying to get things set weeks in advance. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with great white sharks… well, twice in a lifetime. Ok, this will probably become a ritual every other year… but it is still special.

3. Goodreads – A friend introduced me to the Goodreads app and I am slowly logging in all of my books into it. Now, while I am very competitive about how much I read, that is not why I am doing it. I tend to forget what book I own. I mean, some of these I bought over a decade ago. In fact, while scanning the book in, I realized that I do actually have 2 copies of the same book. One in hardcover and one is paperback. It is really convenient to have all of the book titles I own at my fingertips. With how often I buy books, getting duplicates was bound to happen. Now, at least, I am doing something to reduce the odds of me buying a book I already own.

Now all I have to do is get back to reading like I used to.

Three Thing Friday

1. Top News Stories – How is the trial of someone in South Africa a top news story? How is the Ray Rice story a top news story? Shouldn’t the major news outlets keep this whole situation with ISIS at the top of the news? This should be a major concern for everyone, not just those of us here in the United States. When you have a terrorist organization that even Al Qaeda is struggling against, and a President who really doesn’t have an actual plan to handle them, you have to be concerned. Leaving the job to soldiers who are already fleeing from the fight is not a plan. Hell, some of the people in those armies may even actively support ISIS. Sure, we can support these countries, but I truly feel that this is a plan bound for failure.

Of course, I also am not sure that sending troops into the country would be a good plan either. I admit that I don’t have a plan, but I am not the head of the DoD nor am I the elected leader of the “free” world.

2. New Jersey – I bought a brand new Bengals jersey last night. And the story behind it is actually a good one. Devon Still, a 2012 Draft Pick, just couldn’t keep his mind on the game this preseason. He had other priorities, football no longer being the top concern in his life. His four-year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and his playing was not up to par. So, the Bengals cut him from the roster, but he was not unemployed for very long. The Bengals immediately signed him to their practice squad allowing him to have access to the NFL’s health insurance. Sure he took a pay cut, but the health insurance covered his daughter’s cancer treatments as well.

Cincinnati then announced that the revenue from the sale of Still’s jerseys would go to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital & Pediatric Cancer Care. The sales of his jersey set the one-day record for sales of a Bengals jersey. Even the New Orleans Saint’s got in on the act and bought 100 of them (though I wonder what they will do with 100 jerseys from an opponent’s team).

Still has since been placed back on the active roster. He feels that he is now able to focus having spent one week on the practice squad. At least he has his priorities right. And I know it was great PR, but I am glad the Bengals shows that they can be a class act organization.

3. Weird Requirements – So, now that my next big vacation is less than a month away, I had to take care of some government requirements. I had to schedule my foreign travel briefing. I had to make sure I took all of my other required training. And I had to complete other documentation for me to be allowed to take this trip. All of this work left me wondering, does the private industry have to go through all of this? Why does the Army need to know that I am going to Guadeloupe to dive with some sharks? Why does the Army need to know what my blood type is? Although, I have to admit, knowing one’s own blood type just makes sense. It is not like the Government will be able to do much if something happens. And knowing our government, by the time they did do anything, it would have been much too late.

I did all the work I had to do because I am not risking not being allowed to go on this trip. I’ve been looking forward to it for more than six months now. I am going swimming with shark.

Favorite Time of the Year

My favorite time of the year is creeping closer and closer. More and more items about this time are appearing in stores and on TV. I am really gearing up for it, getting all excited. Shark Week is almost upon us! And yes, while typing this I had the Jaws theme stuck in my head.

I will say that this year’s commercials have been a bit of a disappointment. Last years commercials, the ones with the seal being eaten by a shark while being released back into the wild, were hysterical.  Sure, they may have caused some controversy, but they were funny. This year’s commercial, the only one I have seen thus far, was just boring. Discovery usually puts more effort into the advertising for Shark Week.

So, even though it is weeks away, I am already itching to watch all of the new shark specials. And yes, it is no where near as good as actually diving with sharks, but I’ll take a hit (it is like a drug to me) where and when I can get it.

I also still think what I said years ago still holds true. Shark Week may do more harm than good. The shows that are run during Shark Week usually only show the “bad” behavior that can be caught on tape. And it’s not even like it is bad behavior, it is their natural behavior. And sometimes, it’s not even that. When you chum the waters to attract sharks, you are going to change their behavior.

And from experience, I can tell you that Discovery must film all year to get one weeks worth of footage. When I went in the water with great whites, they were much calmer than expected. I had to learn that Jaws and Discovery might not actually be documentaries.

Something’s Wrong

Something is very wrong, and I cannot put my finger on exactly what it is. Yes, morale in the office, including my own, no longer exists. I am not happy, so much so that I am looking for new jobs, both in and out of the government, though I would actually prefer to remain within the government. But right now I would take almost anything, as long as I could continue to pay my mortgage. I have even thought of cutting back on my wine and my warhammer models.

I often think about the fact that I used to love my job, well, at least like my job. I never wanted to go into work, but I never actively thought about calling out sick for the mental health day. Even other people have noticed that something is wrong. All you would have to look at is some of the things that have been said to me recently.

“I hope you are OK” – Mom

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” – Bill

“Are you alright?” – countless other people

“You look very tired” – co-worker

I just feel beat up. I am in one hell of a funk, and I have no idea how to get out of it. I haven’t been kayaking or diving at all this year. And I had to drag myself to the winery last week (WTF is that all about?). Actually, there are a few things I look forward too. I look forward to gaming with my friends, because win or lose (usually lose) I have a blast and it really brings my up from my workweek. I also look forward to the long walk back to the car. Not because it’s the end of the day, well not only because it’s the end of the day, but also because it’s a chance to talk to one of my fellow coworkers. He has a similar personality, and I use that time to bring myself down from the stress of the day.

So, yes everyone, I am run down. Yes I am freaking exhausted. But I am alive, and all of this shall pass.

Besides, I just have to make it to October, when I get to swim with some friendly sharks.

Today’s Lesson

Today I found myself sitting in a training session for two hours. I was being trained for what may end up being a new responsibility in my job. Nothing exciting, just how to process a security form for any project using our contract, but mostly for the Army projects I am currently managing.

If this sounds as dull as watching paint dry, you would be more than correct. There is nothing exciting at all about those forms, and the people hosting the class didn’t help. They were quiet, dull, and thoroughly unprepared for the class. It dragged on for two hours, and I learned something about myself.

I cannot and should not be left in a room with a map. Even when being taught something important (like official forms), a giant map is a giant distraction. If you look at the notes I took during the class, at the bottom of the paper is a list of cities and counties; a list of places I suddenly want to visit or that I found curious for some reason.

East London, South Africa, a place that probably is close to seal island and the potential to see flying sharks. Walvis Bay, Namibia, a place that just looked like a good place to visit, and a name that made me laugh. Cough Island in the Atlantic, a sign that I need new glasses since it is spelled Gough Island. Midway Island, I’d go there just for the history with the place.

I was thinking about places to dive, places I just want to see, places I wish I had the money to go to. Even an uninhabited island where I could be left alone would be a nice place to go.

So, I have no idea how I learned anything in that class, I was way too distracted. Maybe I didn’t actually learn anything.

Three Thing Friday

1. Gun Rights Defended – I am not actually for or against the right to bear arms. What I mean is that while I believe the it is each American’s right to bear arms, I also think that it is not too much to ask for background checks. That being said, the other day I was told a story that was supposed to support the right to arms, as well as reasons to not limit ammunition clips.

The story goes that during a home invasion a woman empties her clip, and the invader was able to run away. So, the argument goes that the fact that she ran out of bullets shows that limiting the size of the clips is dangerous. I actually think it makes the alternate point. This woman emptied a clip in the direction of the invader, and she didn’t hit him. A friend said that if you need more than two shots to drop a person, you are doing something wrong. I would say that it might take three shots, depending on the stress of the situation. But my point still stands, if you need more than three shots to drop a guy, you should go back and take some lessons on how to handle a gun.

2. M*A*S*H – I have been watching the classic TV show M*A*S*H for the last couple of weeks, and I was just thinking about how much darker it would be if it was produced today by HBO. There would definitely be fewer happy endings. For example, I just finished an episode where the doctors pinch off the blood flow from this one soldier’s heart. It was a good episode, with a clock in the corner, showing how long the doctors had to restore blood flow before the soldier died or was paralyzed from the lack of blood flow. Of course, the doctors were successful and there was a happy ending.

If that episode aired on HBO, I highly doubt that there would have been that happy ending. At best, they may have ended the episode leaving that audience hanging, but more likely, the soldier would have ended up paralyzed.

I know I would watch that show if it aired on HBO. A more realistic, less funny M*A*S*H would probably make for a good show, not that I am complaining about the classic. Hell, the classic show lasted longer than the war that it is based off of.

3. 50% – By definition, half of America is actually dumber than the average American. And a few recent items that I have read more than proves that fact.

First, the great state of California had to issue a warning to paddle boarders to stop harassing Great White Sharks. I will admit, that I am completely fascinated by these amazing beasts, and I will be diving with them this coming October. However, I do it from the safety of a cage (although I do want to give one a hug). The paddle boarders are just stressing these animals, and when the shark strikes back, the news is going to eat up the fact that there was another shark attack.

There was also a post on Facebook that continues to prove my point. Someone jokingly posting a picture of Steven Spielberg sitting in front of a triceratops from the set of Jurassic Park. He added a statement about how it is embarrassing that these beautiful creatures are hunted. And someone took it seriously. Actually, quite a few people took it seriously. There is something seriously wrong with some people.

I don’t want to life on this planet anymore.

Three Thing Friday

1. Weird Weather – I hate heat. I am uncomfortable from late May till October, for the most part. Sure, there may be a few cool days and some very comfortable nights, but for the most part, I am miserable. I would say that at least for the most part, I am indoors, but even the office seems muggy. There is no relief on the horizon, at least till I get home and I can run the air conditioner. Now, since I did not complain about the winter weather, I reserve the right to state “I ALREADY MISS WINTER!” But, as much as I am unhappy with this weather, at least it opens up the ability to kayak and SCUBA dive. Now, if I can only get motivated to go.

And at least I am not in a full fur coat like the cat lying at my side.

2. Throw Back Thursdays – I don’t get them, what is the big deal? Of course, I am not a person who should really talk. I hardly keep any photographs of my past. In fact, the only pictures I have around my house are pictures that I took of sharks. I don’t really keep pictures of my past. And the ones on facebook, I really don’t look at. I don’t have the videos or pictures from old band competitions, from my high school days, or even from my college days.

And honestly, the only thing I think about when I hear about Throw Back Thursday is throwing back a beer. Mmmm…. Beer.

3. Cable Wires – I am so tired of the new Direct TV commercials. Really, going to have a family of puppets sell the fact that your “boxes” are wireless? It’s not really that funny, it actually pretty creepy. The commercial with the “wife” just weirds me out, and the one commercial with the son isn’t any better. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am the only one who is weirded out.

Of course, I won’t be going to direct TV any time soon, and it has nothing to do with those commercials.

Perfect Vacation

I have been thinking about taking a vacation a lot lately. Now, I already have a trip in October planned, but I feel like taking a long weekend somewhere. After all, October is so far away. I’d want to go someplace cheap, since the October trip is so expensive. However, All of these thoughts about a vacation have got me to thinking about what my perfect vacation would be.

If costs were no issue, I have three vacations I would love to take. One of them is greatly unrealistic, but the other two are doable. I would love to take a vacation to Mars, but we, as a species, don’t have the ability to do that, not to mention the fact that I don’t have that much leave built up yet. So, ignoring that fantastic voyage, there are a few other trips I would consider the perfect vacation for me.

The first trip would be a two-week excursion with friends to California. The trip would start with a cage diving trip to Guadeloupe Island in Mexico that leaves from San Diego (the one I normally take). I know a few friends who would love to take the trip with me, even if they didn’t step into the cage. After a week at sea, we would return to California and go spend a week at the wineries. That trip would combine two of my favorite hobbies, and if I could find a way to add kayaking to the trip, which shouldn’t be that hard, it would be the perfect vacation for me while staying in the U.S.

The third perfect vacation would be a trip to Australia. Again, the trip would combine my favorite hobbies of SCUBA diving and Wine drinking… I mean, wine tasting. I would love to have the chance to dive the Great Barrier Reef. That is probably on top of most divers bucket list, and I know it is on top of my bucket list. And Australian wine is some of the best wine in the world. Plus the scenery and all of the other touristy things to do in Australia would force me to make this a three-week trip at least. Sadly, besides the costs, there are other things holding me back from taking this vacation. I refuse to go to Australia as long as they keep bait lines to make the beaches “safer.”

Dreaming about these vacations is fun, but since I have already paid for most of my October excursion, I will not be taking any of these trips soon. I really do have to look into cheaper vacations that I could take between now and October. Even a long weekend to the Fingerlakes would be enjoyable, and possibly doable.